A rights group, the Niger Delta Situation Room, has disclosed that the recent mayhem the engulfed Okogbe community in Ahoada West LGA in Rivers State, was the handiwork of cultists and bunkerers operating in the area.
The group in statement signed by Alvin Dogu, the program officer, monitoring and intelligence, revealed that the crisis in Okogbe community the resulted in the death of 2 persons and the burning of 3 houses, was as a result of a clash between rival cult groups and illegal oil bunkerers over sharing of money.
The group revealed that contrary to the false narrative promoted by the cultists and their backers, that the mayhem was caused by the operations of a surveillance team contracted by an oil company operating in the area, the fact was that the illegal bunkerers and their cult partners, orchestrated the violence that engulfed Okogbe community.
According to the statement;
‘Our attention has been drawn to a story making the news rounds purporting that 2 person’s were killed and some houses burnt at Okogbe community, in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers state, as a fall out of the activities of a pipeline surveillance team, contracted by Agip, an oil company operating in the area.
Our investigation as a formost environmental rights group, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the environment of the Niger Delta region and the human rights and security of it’s people, reveals that quite to the contrary, the morning ncident that led to the clash at Okogbe and the attendant loss of life and destruction of properties had nothing to do whatsover with the operation of any surveillance team or Agip oil company.
Reports from our field monitors revealed that the killings and the destructions was as a result of a clash by two rival cult groups in the area over supremacy and control of the illegal oil bunkering business.
Local people interviewed in the course if our investigation disclosed that the cult groups and the illegal oil bunkeres have always had a tenuous business relationship, which often flares up violently over the issue of payoffs and protection money demanded by the cult groups from the bunkerers and which cult group will receive the lion share of the payoffs.
So the crisis that resulted in the violence the led to the unfortunate deaths and destruction of properties was as a result of disagreement among the cult groups over sharing of the illicit money extorted from the bunkerers.
It is stretching the imagination to far to try to locate a nexus between the operations of a legally contracted surveillance team, whose major goal is to eliminate the criminal and illegal bunkering activities in line with the Federal Government policy to eliminate oil theft, and the activities of criminal elements, who have sworn to tarnish the Image and operations of the surveillance operatives and Agip oil company.
Our investigations revealed that not long ago, a formost and respected human rights group,the Civil Liberties Organisation had raised alarm over its descivery that a coalition of oil bunkerers, cult groups and some misguided youth leaders, had perfectted arrangements to plunge Ahoada East and West LGAs into chaos, as a way of demonizing the persistent onslaught and the crippling effect of the war on oil theft in the area.
Our conclusion therefore is that the recent sad incident at Okogbe, is a part of the plot by oil bunkerers and their cult partners to destabilize the area and blame it on the pipeline surveillance contractors and the oil companies operating in the area.
We further wish to urge the public to disregard the infantile claim that the violence that erupted in Okogbe community as reported in some news organs, is as a result of the operations of any surveillance contractor, but rather a failed attempt by the pepertrators to hoodwink the public.
We urge the law enforcement agencies to beam their searchlight on the activities of the oil bunkerers, their cult partners and some misguided youth leaders in the area, who facilitating the illicit theft in crude oil”